My 2014-to-2015 Tax Story: Redefining Rich

It’s easy to write about travels. And taking time off. Sunny days and passport stamps. It’s harder to talk about the day-to-day details, especially about what it takes to finance a life of leisurely unemployment. I initially hesitated to share the “how” of the sabbatical but it’s the one question I get asked the most.

The recent tax season brought up memories of a conversation I had in the midst of making the decision to take time over money. I wrote a post about it on LinkedIn. View it here and here’s an excerpt:

When I was growing up, my parents had a poster in our house that said: I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. Rich is better.

We weren’t rich as a military family so I never quite knew why we had that poster. But I remember absorbing the message even at a young age: Rich is better.

However, rich wasn’t something I ever saw for myself. I went to college on a scholarship and was the first woman on either side of my family to graduate from college. Midway through school, I was having trouble keeping up with the tuition and my mom asked my grandfather if he would help. He said he would give money for secretarial school instead. I took out an extra student loan and never asked for help again.

My first job out of college was at a nonprofit with an annual salary of $20,000. When I switched jobs, I was thrilled to get a $6,000 salary increase. When I passed $100,000, I already had a baby and another one of the way. I was excited to be making six figures and didn’t think beyond it. I always had ambition about work but hadn’t tied that to financial figures.


One thought on “My 2014-to-2015 Tax Story: Redefining Rich

  1. I remember that poster & the picture on it of a southern mansion with big trees in front of it.We were pretty well off when Dan was in the Air Force.  We had no rent & plenty of money for lots of extras & travel.  We were saving $500 a month in accounts for you kids. We came to Arizona, bought a nice house & a houseful of furniture.The harder times hit when we were civilians.  There was one year we earned only $5000 & that was the same year I put braces on Kurt & Scott by getting a grant. By the time you were old enough to remember much, money was scarce.Lots of memories. Good article.  Shari


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